Linebackers are largely an afterthought among the highest-paid NFL players; no linebackers are scheduled to earn anywhere near the $30 million required to be one of the 10 highest-paid players.
Despite the absence of mega salaries – and their absence on rosters of teams atop Super Bowl odds at the online sportsbook – more linebackers are making more money than ever before, i.e., more linebackers have total cash numbers of $10 million and $15 million than in any previous season.
By total cash, here are the highest-paid NFL linebackers for 2022:
Highest-Paid NFL Linebackers: Salary Rankings, 2022
|1||Travon Walker||Jaguars||$25.1 million|
|2||T.J. Watt||Steelers||$24 million|
|3||Joey Bosa||Chargers||$21.3 million|
|4||Harold Landry||Titans||$20.3 million|
|5||Von Miller||Bills||$19.9 million|
|6||Khalil Mack||Chargers||$17.8 million|
|7||Chandler Jones||Raiders||$17.4 million|
|8||Leonard Floyd||Rams||$16.5 million|
|9||De'Vondre Campbell||Packers||$16.2 million|
|10(t)||Bud Dupree||Titans||$16 million|
|10(t)||C.J. Mosley||Jets||$16 million|
|10(t)||Shaquil Barrett||Bucs||$16 million|
1. Travon Walker, Jacksonville Jaguars
The highest-paid NFL edge rusher, Travon Walker has a fully guaranteed four-year, $37.4-million rookie contract after his selection as the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Nearly all of his rookie cash number comes from a $24.4-million signing bonus.
Travon Walker career earnings: $0
2. T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
T.J. Watt isn’t the $36-million man he was last year, but the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year will still earn $24 million in 2022, the first year of a four-year, $112-million deal that runs through 2025.
T.J. Watt career earnings: $45,852,038
3. Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers
Joey Bosa is now two years removed from a staggering cash number of $43 million in 2020, the final year of his rookie deal before his five-year, $135-million officially began in 2021.
If he plays out the remainder of the deal, Bosa will earn another $24 million in 2023, $22 million in 2024, and $25.4 million in 2025.
Joey Bosa career earnings: $82,644,417
4. Harold Landry, Tennessee Titans
Harold Landry’s career season – career-high 12 sacks in 2021 – led to a five-year, $87.5-million contract, making him a $20-million edge rusher in 2022.
Landry never earned more than $3.5 million in any of his first four NFL seasons.
Harold Landry career earnings: $7,768,458
5. Von Miller, Buffalo Bills
Von Miller might’ve signed a six-year, $120-million deal with Buffalo, but it seems unlikely the 33-year-old will play out the entirety of the deal, which includes just $51.4 million guaranteed and small dead salary cap hits in both 2025 ($7.4 million) and 2026 ($3.7 million).
Von Miller career earnings: $144,475,534
6. Khalil Mack, Los Angeles Chargers
Khalil Mack has three years remaining on the six-year, $141-million contract he signed with the Chicago Bears days before the 2018 season.
His dead cap hit will drop (from $13.5 million in 2022) to $9 million in 2023 and $4.5 million in 2024.
Khalil Mack career earnings: $109,695,498
7. Chandler Jones, Las Vegas Raiders
After six years in Arizona, Chandler Jones signed a three-year, $51-million deal that’ll pay him at least $17 million annually from 2022-24.
If he plays out the entirety of the deal, he’ll have nearly $150 million in career earnings.
Chandler Jones career earnings: $149,907,510
8. Leonard Floyd, Los Angeles Rams
Leonard Floyd has a small base salary ($1.5 million) and a modest cap hit ($8 million) in the second year of a four-year, $64-million deal. But the former top-10 pick will earn at least $16 million for the second straight year.
Floyd’s teammates Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald sit atop rankings for highest-paid NFL quarterback, highest-paid NFL wide receiver, and highest-paid NFL defensive linemen.
Leonard Floyd career earnings: $41,876,577
9. De’Vondre Campbell, Green Bay Packers
De’Vondre Campbell’s ascension from unwanted free agent to First-Team All-Pro netted him a five-year, $50-million contract with $15 million guaranteed.
De’Vondre Campbell career earnings: $12,849,787
10(t). Bud Dupree, Tennessee Titans
Bud Dupree has a cap hit of only $5.1 million in 2021, the first year of a five-year, $82.5-million contract.
That number exploded to $19.2 million in 2022, most of which comes from a base salary of $16 million. The remainder is a $3.2-million signing bonus.
Bud Dupree career earnings: $52,256,334
10(t). C.J. Mosley, New York Jets
C.J. Mosley finally played a full season in 2021 after missing all of 2020 (opt out) and all but two games in 2019 (injury). He has three years remaining on a five-year, $85-million deal that includes a dead cap hit of only $3 million in 2023 (down from $20.5 million in 2022).
C.J. Mosley career earnings: $52,656,002
10(t). Shaquil Barrett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Approximately half of Shaq Barrett’s four-year, $68-million contract is guaranteed. He’s in the second year of the deal, which will pay him $16 million in 2022, $15 million in 2023, and $17 million in 2024.
Shaquil Barrett career earnings: $47,146,611
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